The most important thing to remember when fighting against
light pollution is that everyone benefits: homeowners,
drivers, pedestrians, businesses, teachers, police, astronomers, everyone.
Proper lighting, light which does not spoil the night sky for
astronomers, also benefits public safety, improves night vision, reduces
light trespass, protects nature, and saves money and energy.
"Light Pollution" is light which goes where it is not needed
or wanted and light which is unnecessarily bright.
"Proper Lighting" is provided by light fixtures which direct
light only where needed, which do not shine to the side or up into
the sky, and do not glare into our eyes. Generally, the light bulb is
not visible and the illuminated object is visible.
Saving money and energy: because proper lighting fixtures direct light only where
needed; are not brighter than needed; and use efficient reflectors;
such fixtures require lower wattage bulbs to provide excellent
illumination. Lower wattage equals less energy, less pollution, less cost.
light shining into natural areas disturbs the cycles of the
animals. Great flocks of dead birds are found at the base of overly illuminated
Reduced Light Trespass: Lights which shine to the side, crossing property lines
and entering bedroom windows, are wasteful and annoying.
Improved Night Vision: Light which shines into our eyes is
blinding, defeating night vision. A driveway properly illuminated by
50 watts of downward directed light is easier to see than the same driveway
illuminated by 150 watts of light glaring into the eyes.
For more information about non-polluting lighting, the Illuminating
Engineering Society of North America: http://www.iesna.org
For amateur astronomy in Minnesota, and advice on all things astronomical,
the Minnesota Astronomical Society: http://www.mnastro.org